Entertainment

Australia Day 2016 Google doodle 'shining a light' on Indigenous culture

Search engine Google has been commended for weighing in on the controversy surrounding the Australia Day holiday, publishing a doodle depicting the stolen generation to mark the divisive day.

Google's Australia Day artwork.
Google's Australia Day artwork. Photo: Google

The artwork, called "Stolen Dreamtime", was drawn by Canberra Year 10 student Ineka Voigt and depicts an Aboriginal woman mourning her stolen children "and a life that never was".

The Google 'doodle' reflects the raging national debate over the holiday which celebrates the the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Harbour in 1788.

16-year-old Ineka Voigt won an Australia-wide competition "Doodle 4 Google".
16-year-old Ineka Voigt won an Australia-wide competition "Doodle 4 Google".  Photo: Jamila Toderas

The powerful artwork has already been reported by overseas news organisations such as Al Jazeera, and is a radical departure from Google doodles in past Australia Days.

For many Australians, the holiday is a symbol of the British invasion and the adverse impacts it has had on Australia's Indigenous culture, with "Invasion Day" a common term used to describe January 26.

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The Google artwork - selected from a competition which saw Australian students in Grade 1 to Year 10 submit a staggering 26,000 entries - has been met with praise online.

Twitter users commended Google on Tuesday morning for taking an unconventional stance on the Australia Day controversy.

Google's Australia Day artwork in 2015.
Google's Australia Day artwork in 2015. Photo: Google

"Google reminds non-Aboriginal Australians of the price that Indigenous people have paid for their privilege," law professor Paula Gerber wrote.

"Google knows what Australia Day is about," another person tweeted.

"Check out Google's powerful statement today for Australia Day. Well done Ineka Voigt and Google for shining a light," said another.

The powerful message comes just days after a speech by Aboriginal journalist Stan Grant highlighting the plight of Indigenous Australians went viral online.

Grant's speech, which railed against racism in Australian and the mistreatment of Indigenous Australians, has been compared to Martin Luther King Jr's iconic "I Have a Dream" address and has been viewed more than one million times on Facebook.

Google Doodle artist Ineka Voigt told Fairfax 'Stolen Dreamtime' was a message of reconciliation.

"I thought to myself, if I could go back in time I'd want to change what happened with the stolen generation," Ineka said. "Being more realistic I can't change it, but instead I wanted to send a message of reconciliation."

"I wanted to send this message of reconciliation on Australia Day because it's important for us to recognise our achievements, but also look at the atrocities.

"I believe that the stolen generation is one of the greatest atrocities in Australia's history."